The teacher education establishment is digging in to defend the status quo against appalathons about low ATARs for teaching degrees and the quality of courses. But their strategy now is smarter than only arguing everything is fine and they know best.
Last month three deans defended education faculties and the quality of their graduates. “The teacher education programs we use are all heavily and nationally accredited. They are rigorous and vigorous. These courses are definitely not for the fainthearted. Every student that graduates with a teacher education degree has demonstrably changed and has developed as a professional in response to the program of study and experience we provide,” they argued.
The point was made again yesterday, in an opinion piece by Neville Jennings for the Australian Association for Education in Research. Dr Jennings reports how he was an “unexceptional student” with average school results who may not have passed an emotional intelligence test and behavioural interview. But; “my personality blossomed during my teacher training years, I was inspired to pursue an academic career and I found that I loved teaching.”
This is rather the point Christopher Pyne was making when in 2015 he announced the national literacy and numeracy tests for teacher education graduates now in place (CMM June 29 2015) – it’s not what students start with when they commence teacher education degrees, it’s what they can do when they graduate that matters. It’s not an argument that will shut state up education ministers, who demand astronomical ATARs for teaching courses, but it’s about the best the deans have got.